Appalachian Voices through the years

All of our accomplishments are the result of months, sometimes years of hard work and diligence, and always in partnership with many other organizations and citizens. We invite you to enjoy these highlights of our work through the years…


Voice_96winter_frontpgThe Appalachian Voice first publishes.




♦ Appalachian Voices is chartered as a nonprofit in Boone, N.C., with a mission of protecting the air, land, waters and communities of the Central and Southern Appalachian region.

Photo by Kent Mason♦ Begin organizing in West Virginia to end mountaintop removal, leading to the creation of independent organization Coal River Mountain Watch.




♦ Bring together 12 groups to pass the N.C. Clean Smokestacks Act, one of the strongest air pollution laws in the country at the time.

♦ Start "Appalachian Treasures Tour," a traveling presentation about the atrocities of mountaintop removal coal mining, marking the beginning of our national campaign to end the practice.




♦ Help form Christians for the Mountains, a non-denominational religious campaign founded on the idea of caring for creation.

♦ Join with 12 other organizations to form The Alliance for Appalachia and hold the inaugural End Mountaintop Removal Week in D.C., and launch




♦ Establish offices in Washington, D.C., and Charlottesville, Va.

♦ Help found the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition to build statewide movement to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.

♦ Launch the "Mountaintop Removal" and "My Connection" online tool, for which we are later named one of eight "Google Earth Heroes."

Obama-widget_180x110♦ Generate tens of thousands of letters to President Obama to prioritize an end to mountaintop removal.




♦ Due partly to our advocacy, Appalachia Restoration Act is introduced in the U.S. Senate, and the first-ever Senate hearings on mountaintop removal are held.

♦ Launch Appalachian Water Watch program in Kentucky to train citizens to monitor water quality in streams.

coalriverwind♦ Our "Harnessing Coal River Wind in Appalachia" video is featured at the International Climate Summit in Copenhagen.

♦ Document more than 30,000 Clean Water Act violations at Kentucky coal mines, and bring legal actions against the companies that lead to unprecedented fines.

♦ Gain 173 co-sponsors for the Clean Water Protection Act in the House of Representatives and twelve co-sponsors in the Senate.

♦ Given awards or otherwise recognized by four national entities — E, the Environmental Magazine, Resource Renewal Institute, Good Magazine and Business Ethics Network — for innovative work on organizing, protecting water quality and ending mountaintop removal.




♦ Reach milestone of 100,000 people who have taken action on mountaintop removal.

♦ Expand Appalachian Water Watch campaign to Virginia.

♦ Launch the Red, White and Water campaign to educate the public about negative health effects of coal-fired power plants in the Southeast.

♦ Defeat proposal for the largest coal-fired power plant in Virginia in partnership with the Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition.

Focus national awareness on mountaintop removal at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.




♦ Launch of our "Energy Savings for Appalachia" program to advocate that rural electric cooperatives provide upfront, debt-free financing for energy efficiency home improvements.

♦ Quickly responded to the "triple whammy" of coal-related disasters — the Dan River, N.C., coal ash spill, and West Virginia’s Elk River chemical spill and separate coal slurry spill — and help focus national spotlight on the issues.




♦ Celebrate with local groups the successful fight to stop the Ison Rock Ridge mountaintop removal mine in Virginia.

♦ Launch our campaign to support and amplify efforts of multi-state citizens coalitions to stop two massive fracked-gas pipelines in W.Va., Va., and N.C.

♦ Reach a historic settlement with Frasure Creek Mining over its years-long violations of water law in Kentucky.

♦ Statewide alliance of citizens demanding action on the North Carolina coal ash crisis forms with our support.

♦ Launch of "Communities at Risk" online map showing mountaintop removal moving ever closer to communities in Appalachia.

♦ Open office in Norton, Va., in the heart of Virginia’s coal country to expand our efforts to diversify local economy.

♦ After years of work by Appalachian Voices and others, Obama administration issues Stream Protection Rule providing new restrictions on surface coal mining. (One of Trump’s first actions is to kill the rule.)

♦ First electric co-op in western North Carolina starts energy efficiency financing largely as a result of our work.




♦ Voted "Best Environmental Organization" by readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors.

An abandoned underground mine portal near Haysi♦ Congress designates $10 million to repurpose old coal mines in Southwest Virginia for economic development, due in large part to our outreach with local citizens.

♦ Released a roadmap showcasing solar’s potential to increase local prosperity and generate millions of dollars in local wages and energy savings  

♦ Released an innovative model for commercial solar development in Southwest Virginia 

♦ Collaborated with Duke University researchers on a study mapping the expansive footprint of mountaintop removal since 1985 .




♦ After a five-year effort by AV and partners, NC state agency orders Duke Energy to excavate coal ash stored at six sites 

♦ Shepherded major advances in solar for Southwest Virginia including a $500,000 proposal to develop a solar farm on an old mine site and helping eight communities to receive SolSmart designation

Halted construction along the Mountain Valley Pipeline by filing a joint motion prohibiting the project from crossing streams in West Virginia. 

♦ Helped bring 150 coal miners and family members to Washington, D.C., to convince Congress to reinstate the tax on coal that supports the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund 

♦ Launched the Energy Justice NC coalition and defeated Duke Energy’s attempts to pass a bill that would have increased energy costs and rigged the regulatory process in Duke’s favor for years to come. 

NC pipeline protestorsAtlantic Coast Pipeline defeated after a six-year, multi-organization grassroots effort! 

♦ Successfully petitioned regulators and government officials to stop utility shut-offs for families in N.C., Tenn., and Va. struggling to afford their energy bills during the Covid-19 pandemic

♦ Mountain Valley Pipeline forced to request individual permits for 1,000 water crossings after judge halted construction in coalition-led case

♦ Published “The People’s Vision for a Democratic, Just and Green TVA,” which lays out pathways to necessary change for the utility .

♦ Co-launched the National Economic Transition Platform to develop a series of economic solution recommendations for coal-impacted communities, many which were adopted by the Biden transition team





♦ Executive Director Tom Cormons joins the Biden administration’s White House Environment Justice Advisory Council 

♦ Secured the passage of the Brightfields Act, which encourages the construction of large scale solar projects on former surface mines in Virginia 

♦ Biden signs into law a bill containing $11.3 billion in funding to clean up Abandoned Mine Lands 

Awarded $1.5M for the Appalachian Solar Finance Fund to fund solar projects for coal-impacted communities throughout Central Appalachia 

Appalachian Voices celebrates 25 years of working to protect the air, land, water and communities of our region.



Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube